Acts That are Permissible During the Fast
(1) Pouring water over one's self and submerging one's self in water
Abu Bakr ibn 'Abdurrahman reported from a number of companions that they had
seen Allah's Messenger pour water over his head while he was fasting due to
thirst or extreme heat. [Ahmad, Malik and Abu Dawud; Sahih]. Al-Hasan
al-Basri said: "There is no harm in rinsing the mouth and cooling ones body
with cold water when fasting". Similarly, one can have a bath or swim
without invalidating his fast.
(2) Applying Kohl(*) or eye-drop or anything to the eyes
It is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (S) to apply Kohl to his eyes
(unfortunately this practice has been abandoned by Muslim men of this age).
There are reports of many Sahaba applying Kohl while fasting, among them Anas
who did not see any harm in use of Kohl for the fasting person. [Bukhari].
Similar is wearing or smelling perfumes.
(*)A black substance applied to the rims of the eyelids
(3) Kissing and foreplay for one who has the ability to control himself
`Aishah (R) said :" The Prophet (S) would kiss and embrace [his wives] while
he was fasting, for he had the most control of all of you over his desires"
[Bukhari and Muslim]
Aisha said, "Allah's Apostle used to kiss some of his wives while he was
fasting," and then she smiled. [Bukhari]
Zainab (daughter of Ummu Salama) reported that her mother said, "While I was
(lying) with Allah's Messenger underneath a woolen sheet, I got the
menstruation, and then slipped away and put on the clothes (which I used to
wear) in menses. He asked, "What is the matter? Did you get your menses?" I
replied in the affirmative and then entered underneath that woolen sheet. I
and Allah's Messenger used to take a bath from one water pot and he used to
kiss me while he was fasting." [Bukhari]
Umar asked the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him): Should one observing
fast kiss (his wife)? The Messenger of Allah (S) said to him: Ask her (Ummu
Salamah). She informed him that the Messenger of Allah (S) did that,
whereupon he said: Messenger of Allah, Allah pardoned you all your sins, the
previous and the later ones. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (S) said: By
Allah, I am the most God-conscious among you and I fear Him most among you.
This is permissible even if it led to some pre-seminal fluid secretions.
Jabir said: "The person who gets discharge after casting a look (on his wife)
should complete his fast." [Bukhari].
However, young men or women are discouraged to kiss or have foreplay as it
may lead to loss of control.
Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Aas said: "We were with the Prophet (S) when a
youth came and said: 'May I kiss [my wife] while I am fasting?' He (the
Prophet (S)) said: 'No'. Then an old man came and said: 'May I kiss [my wife]
while I am fasting?' He said: 'Yes'. So we began looking at one another, so
Allah's Messenger (S) said: 'The old man is able to control himself'. [Ahmad;
(4) Injections, eye and ear drops
Medically required injections, eye and ear
drops and medications placed on wounds, as long as they are not for nourishing
purposes they do not invalidate the fast even if one finds a taste in the
throat as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim observed.
(5) Cupping (Hijaamah) and blood-letting [or donation] for medical purposes
This used to be an act that breaks the fast. The Prophet (S) said "The cupper
[al-Hajim] and the cupped [al-Mahjoum] have broken the fast" [Sahih
al-Jami`]. However, this was abrogated later as the The Prophet (S) did it
Ibn Abbas said: "The Prophet was cupped while he was in the state of Ihram,
and also while he was observing a fast." [Bukhari]
Anas Ibn Malik was asked whether they disliked the cupping for a fasting
person. He replied in the negative and said, "Only if it causes weakness."
Vivisection follows the same ruling as cupping as well as nose or throat
bleeding, or bleeding caused by pulling a tooth.
(6) Rinsing the mouth and nose
These acts are allowed in general, but it is disliked to exaggerate (that is,
use a lot of water and put the water deep into the mouth or nose while
Laqit Ibn Sabra reported that the Prophet said: "Exaggerate when rinsing your
nose unless you are fasting." [an-Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn
(7) Those things which one could not protect one's self from
Such as swallowing one's saliva [or sputum], the dust of the road, sifting
flour and so on are all overlooked: Ibn 'Abbas ruling is that: "There is no
problem with tasting liquid food or something you wish to purchase."
Similarly one can taste food (when cooking) with the tongue without
(8) The fasting person can eat, drink, and have sexual intercourse until fajr
If someone has food in his mouth when fajr is beginning, he should spit it
out. If he is having intercourse (with his wife) at that time, he should
immediately stop. If he does so, his fast will still be valid. If he
continues in these actions at that time, he will have broken his fast.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Aishah that the Prophet said: "Bilal makes
the call to prayer while it is still night; therefore, eat and drink until
Ibn Umm Maktum makes the call to prayer."
(9) It is permissible for the fasting person to be Junub (sexually defiled or
having had intercourse or a wet dream) at the time of Fajr (that is, a person
is not required to perform ghusl before fajr)
Umm Salamah [the wife of the Prophet (S)] narrated that AbuBakr ibn
AbdurRahman reported that Marwan sent him to Umm Salamah to ask whether a
person should observe fast who is in a state of junaba and the dawn breaks
upon him, whereupon she said that the Messenger of Allah (S) (was at times)
junub on account of intercourse and not due to sexual dream, and the dawn
broke upon him, but he neither broke the fast nor recompensed. [Muslim]
(10) Delaying the purifying ghusl (bath) from menstruation till after fajr (dawn) time.
If the blood of a menstruating woman or of a woman with post-childbirth
bleeding stops during the night, she can delay ghusl until Fajr.
(11) Involuntary actions
Involuntary actions such as ejaculation in a wet dream or involuntary
vomiting do not invalidate the fast [the case of vomiting has already been
indicated in the hadith concerning intentional vomiting].